Graphics card for Quicksilver

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by zackkmac, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. zackkmac macrumors 6502a

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    #1
    Hi all. I have a Quicksilver that I bought for $10 a few months ago that has been really fun as far as maxing it out goes. :) It now has a 1.8GHz processor, Leopard, 1.5GB RAM, and 4 USB 2.0 ports. I bought a SIL3512 but it did not work in my QS...

    Anyways, the 64MB video card isn't doing it justice anymore. So I bought an ATI Radeon 9700 Pro 128MB and I think I messed it up. I flashed a 128 rom to it and not only did it not work for displaying video, it also does not show up in System Profiler anymore.

    So I am on the hunt for a new card. Will a FireGL X3 work in my Quicksilver? Or is this only recommended for MDD models? I've also been looking at ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 256MB cards...would be great to have 4x the current vRAM.

    Please let me know what you recommend based on ease of installation/flashing and performance. Thank you in advance.
     
  2. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #2
    Do you know anyone who still has a PC with an AGP slot? You can probably recover that 9700 with very little effort.

    If not...

    Are you planning to use this for gaming? If so, then better do cards matter. If not, then I see it like this (and I'd genuinely like to hear from anyone who disagrees):

    There are basically three types of video cards for a G4 running Leopard:

    1) The Rage 128 in early models. No hardware accelerated Quartz Extreme. No hardware accelerated Core Image. If you've had the unpleasant experience of using Leopard with this card, you already know that QE and CI functions are handled by the CPU instead of the GPU. It's painful. That's not hyperbole. It actually does cause pain to those who use it.

    2) A video card capable of hardware accelerated Quartz Extreme. A dramatic improvement. Depending on the specifics (codecs, resolutions, and frame rate), this card could mean the difference between a Quicktime movie being a slide show and an actual movie playing at full frame rate (all with lower CPU!). Windows snap to the screen more quickly and the entire UI is improved.

    3) A video card capable of hardware accelerated Core Image (any such card is also capable of Quartz Extreme). Another improvement. And more eye candy (without CPU penalty). Better GUI performance and better CPU performance since more things have been offloaded to the GPU. (Exception: GeForce 5200 is technically a Core Image card, but many features are disabled under Leopard. The transparent menu bar, for example. Even some applications, including Apple's own Aperture, will disable Core Image acceleration when the GF 5200 is installed).

    With the exceptions listed above, on a PowerPC Macintosh, 2D is generally going to be CPU bound and 3D is generally going to be GPU bound. So, if you're gaming, then yes, faster memory, faster clock speed, and more pipelines really do matter. If you're not, then you're probably not going to notice much difference between a Radeon 9800 Pro, a GeForce 6200, or a FireGL X3. Get whatever is cheapest (but stay away from the GeForce 5200 if you're looking for a solid Core Image card).

    Strangely, though, the better deals often seem to be on the FireGL X3 (one of the best possible options). I think they were included in a bunch of Hewlett Packard work stations that have been retired in recent years. Yes, it should work in a Quicksilver.
     
  3. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #3
    Also, we should try to figure out what went wrong with the flash before trying again. Were you able to test the card in a PC to verify that it worked before flashing? Sounds like a botched flash, though. Were you using Leopard? In Safe Mode?
     
  4. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    Thank you so much for the detailed response. I almost thought no one would respond but I'm glad I checked!

    Yes, I flashed it using Leopard, but not in Safe Mode. Based on whatever instructions I found for flashing the 9700 Pro, I did not know that doing so under Leopard was strongly unrecommended. I can't remember what website I used, but there was a directory of downloads for Mac ATI ROMs and I picked what I believe was the only one listed for the 9700 Pro. And if I recall correctly it was a 128k ROM (maybe the card is a 64k?). I used "Graphicelerator" to flash it using VNC.

    The program said "Are you sure you want to flash 'M300' to this card?" I had no idea where it got M300 from but I know I put the 9700-designated ROM in the correct folder, using the software itself to select the ROM, so I figured "M300" had something to do with my downloaded ROM. I'm pretty sure it told me it was a success.

    Unfortunately I do not have access to a PC to flash it with...the closest I have is one HP PC but it has no AGP slots, just PCI. So the cheapest solution I have is to either somehow fix this one using my Mac, which I doubt because it isn't seen anymore...or buy a new one.

    The only gaming it will do would be Roller Coaster Tycoon and the newest compatible version of Sims for my nephews. And anything else they may want if I can find it cheap enough. So I would like it to handle those as smoothly as possible, which is why I was opting for high end cards. Better to be safe than sorry.

    So...I would really like the X3 as it sounds like the best option. But, I have yet to read any more than maybe 2 actual flashing success stories, and none at all for Quicksilvers.

    Also, my Cube has the Rage 128 and I'd like to (easily) get rid of it. I'm not able to solder or physically alter electronics in any way, do you know of any that are an easy flash-and-install?
     
  5. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #5
    The PowerPC section of MR moves at a much slower pace than the MBP forum. There are still quite a few regulars here, but some only check in once a week or so.

    Yeah, the only cards that I've botched were attempted on Leopard. I've never had trouble with Tiger in safe mode or with Panther. But I'm not just making generalizations based on my own small sample size. Japamac (a well-known PowerPC video card guru) told me a while back that he thought Panther was the most reliable way when doing it on a Mac.

    ROM size? Yeah, that's a possible explanation too. I think most of the 9700s are 128k, but if yours was 64k that could be the problem. When in doubt, better to use the reduced ROM. Also, maybe post link to a picture of what your card looks like.

    Yes, I think an X3 would be a good choice. I just wanted to get a sense of expectations because some folks seem to upgrade old PowerPC video cards in hopes that they'll get better YouTube or VLC performance. Unless upgrading from a Rage 128, that just isn't going to happen. I just flashed an X3 for my G5 last week. I've had one in my MDD for a few years. They're great cards. I think you've seen the other recent thread where I mention it, but I used this rom, to flash a card that looks like this.

    If you're planning to do a few cards, it might be worth it to pick up an old AGP PC for $25 off Craigslist. It would be worth that price just to recover your 9700. Even if you prefer flashing on the Mac, it's also nice to be able to test the card in a PC to verify that it works before making modifications.

    For the Cube, if I'm not mistaken, a GeForce 6200 would be the only Core Image card that can be installed without a VRM move.
     
  6. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #6
    Thanks again. I've been watching that eBay listing for a while now and got the price to $40 shipped when doing a "Best Offer" with the seller. So I think I will pull the trigger on it.

    So does using a 128k ROM, when possible, provide any benefits over a 64k?

    And the ROM you used, is it 64k or 128k, and can you tell me the steps you took to flash it correctly? I really do not want to screw up this new card.

    I now have 10.4 installed on my G4 but should I erase that and use 10.3? I know I have a Panther disc somewhere.

    Here is a picture of my 9700 Pro:

    [​IMG]

    And the 6200 in reference to the Cube...I read you do have to have an AGP PC to flash that...is that true?
     
  7. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #7
    This card is non-flashable. It's All in Wonder model. None of AIW will work with Mac ROM.
     
  8. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    Thank you for the clarification. I wish I had known that before spending $18 on it!
     
  9. 666sheep macrumors 68040

    666sheep

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    #9
    I'd recommend Herkules 9700 or 9700 Pro, if you'd manage to find one of these somewhere. Both have 128K chip.
     
  10. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #10
    I looked a couple of days ago for one of those and was unable to find one.

    And I just ordered the FireGL X3 so this will be my next attempt at upgraded graphics.

    Also, my OP was wrong, the Radeon 7500 my QS contains is a 32MB card, not a 64MB. :eek: It will go in my Cube if this X3 works though! That should help it a tad as the Cube currently has the Rage 128.
     
  11. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #11
    I think it depends on the card? My only PowerPC cards now are the Radeon 9800 Pro and the FireGL X3 (except for a couple of older PCI cards that I use for a third display on occasion). My 9800 Pro has a 128k ROM. It's treated just like a Mac card, as far as I know. I guess I'm really not sure, though. It has always been my impression, rightly or wrongly, that ATI ROM Extender bridges the gap on 64k ROMs. Whatever the case, I've never felt that anything was missing from my X3. 666sheep knows more about the ins and outs of more of these cards than I do. Maybe he will be able to provide more specifics.

    I used the 64k reduced ROM linked above. Here is the post I made in the other thread about the steps that I took:

    (To see quoted comment in context, see this thread.)

    I hate giving specific advice without even knowing the reason, but that's the way that I would do it based on advice from Japamac. You can take a look at his website and judge his credibility for yourself. He knew I was using Leopard at the time, so I'm sure he would have suggested a safe boot with Leopard if the thought it was just as reliable. But he suggested Panther specifically.

    If you don't want to erase what you've done with Tiger, maybe boot the QS in TDM and connect to your iMac or MBP to add a partition for Panther? Of course, backup any important files. I don't think you can resize a live partition from within Tiger? Didn't that start with Leopard?

    Anyway, we know what went wrong with your first attempt now. There is nothing that you could have done to make that card work. Don't think of that as a failure in your flashing efforts (but do take it as a lesson for doing diligent research before purchase). :)
     
  12. dabirdwell macrumors 6502

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    #12
    I happen to have a mint 9800 Pro 128

    I realize it may be too late. Just putting it out there. Was used briefly in my old MDD.
     
  13. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #13
    Thank you so much for posting the instructions. I can't wait to give it a shot. I'll definitely be using Panther as I've found my install discs. And yeah, I definitely needed to do more research. :eek: The listing didn't say All in Wonder when I bought the card, but even then I had already heard of "All in Wonder" but assumed that was at the end of the name of all Radeon Pro cards. :p
     
  14. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #14
    Before I make a failure on this card, I have a few more questions. The card came in today. I'm sure I'll have to tape pins 3 and 11, right? And do I connect any power to the molex connector on the card or leave that part unplugged?

    I can't find my other Panther discs, and the one I found is an Upgrade disc anyways...so would it be safe to do this under Tiger with safe boot?

    Would love to get this card working. :)
     
  15. Swampus macrumors 6502

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    #15
    Yup. Tape the pins and connect the power cable. I've personally never had a problem with Tiger in safe mode. And most of the problems that I've seen mentioned have been with Leopard. Again, though, Japamac, for whatever reason, said that Panther is the most reliable way to do it.

    I can't think of any pitfalls that haven't already been mentioned. 666sheep is online today, so maybe wait to see if there is any last minute advice from him. He has way more experience with this than I do.

    Good luck!
     
  16. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I guess I shall wait on him and then possibly try it in Tiger. A little nervous because of what happened last time but I guess it would've been a botched attempt either way since my last card was an All In Wonder.
     
  17. Swampus macrumors 6502

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    #17
    To put your mind at ease, I'll offer this: If anything goes wrong, mail it to me and I'll flash it on my PC. Include materials for return shipment so that all I have to do is flash it and stick in it in the mailbox and I'll do it.
     
  18. 666sheep macrumors 68040

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    #18
    Zack, try FGL ROM first, if it won't work use X800XT reduced ROM (change device ID to FireGL X3 in it first). Procedure described by Swampus is correct. Install ATI Displays 4.5.7 after flashing the card with reduced ROM. It contains ATI ROM Extender (needed for proper sleep support and other functions that were cut-off from the ROM to reduce its suze) and adds control panel with additional features like rotation and 3D settings enhancement.
    Don't worry if video will be black and white after first reboot. Installation of mentioned ATI Displays will solve this issue.
     
  19. rabidz7 macrumors 65816

    rabidz7

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    #19
    If you have a PCI GPU you can flash an AGP card with the graphiccelerator suite.
     
  20. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #20
    Thanks for the responses thus far everyone. :) Swampus I may have to send it to you...I'm not having much luck but I do want to keep trying.

    My current issue is that the QS does not want to boot into OS X with the card installed. I have taped over pins 3 and 11 and the card is plugged into one of the hard drive bay's molex connectors for power. I get a boot chime and the hard drive begins spinning but that's it. I've made an application to run and play a sound once OS X logs in so I'll know when it's ready for the VNC connection but with X3 installed it does not get there.

    I experienced this issue with the 9700 Pro until I taped over 3 and 11 but I shouldn't be getting this issue on this card now that they're taped. I don't have an exacto knife but I used a razor blade. It's a tad sloppy but the pins it overlaps onto don't seem covered enough to be affected. Please tell me if this is correct...maybe the tape isn't opaque enough?:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  21. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #21
    You don't really need to tape all of the way up the narrow part of the trace, just the bigger section at the bottom. That's where the connection is made when it's installed.

    Also, it's just the ones on the back side of the card that you need to tape (side opposite the heatsink, like in your lower picture).
     
  22. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    Interesting. So should I remove the front side tape? This is exactly how I taped the 9700 Pro and it became recognizable in my Mac whereas this one will not let me boot...

    I followed this guide: http://themacelite.wikidot.com/pins-3-and-11
     
  23. Swampus macrumors 6502

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    #23
    It looks like the tape might be partially covering pin 12?
     
  24. zackkmac thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    #24
    Very, very slightly. In fact it's covering pin 10 more than 12 and even that is extremely minimal. Like I said, to me it seems there is plenty of room for these pins to make contact (2, 4, 10 and 12) because the tape covers maybe 5% of their area.
     
  25. Swampus macrumors 6502

    Swampus

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    #25
    Also verify that molex extension cable is connected well at both sides. Sometimes the cheaper ones can be problematic. If the pins don't line up just right you'll end up pushing one out even through it appears that you have it connected securely. To make it even more confusing, I'm pretty sure that the fan on the card will operate even without molex power. So don't assume that a spinning fan means that the power is connected correctly.
     

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